21 August 2018

What is making me happy - Exploring

On the weekend I saw a sign that read "Happiness is enjoying the simple things in life", I couldn't agree with it more. That's why I thought I'd bring back my little series on "What is making me happy".

As a family, we love nothing more than jumping in the car and go exploring. We love driving to new places, or places we have visited before and want to check out again, or stop where there's an amazing view on the side of a road or from a lookout, or visit a place for a bushwalk.

Last weekend we went camping down on the NSW south coast with friends for a long weekend. We enjoyed exploring towns such as Berry, seeing the blowhole at Kiama, as well as taking in the beautiful rolling hills and countryside.

It was too cold (and windy) for a swim or fish, but the kids enjoyed finding shells on the beach, running around on the sand and stopping at Black Head Reserve to check out the views of the headlands and coastline.

At the end of the day, Popette beamed with excitement telling us "It was the best day!"

Its the little things like spending time together exploring that makes us all happy. What have you done recently that made you happy?

Cherub on the beach

Looking for shells

Kiama blowhole

Beautiful countryside near Gerroa
Views of Kiama
Seven Mile Beach

Headlands and coastline from Black Head reserve
A farm near Berry

14 August 2018

My first year in business and what I have learnt so far

This Wednesday marks 1 year since I took a leap of faith into registering my own business. At the time I was nervous, and a little anxious about starting a business. I had no idea where to start, I hadn't run my own business before or really knew what to do first. 

I wasn't feeling 100% confident with myself or my skills as I had been out of the workforce for over 8 years due to raising my girls.

But what I did know, was that I wanted to be my own boss, have flexibility so I could be there for Cherub & Popette and still enjoy time with them at school when I'm helping with reading or attending one of the school events. 

I wanted to be available to them in the mornings and afternoons.

I wanted to be my own boss and decide on the type of work I wanted to do, and not have someone delegate work to me that I didn't enjoy doing.

Here's what have I learnt so far in my first year:

In the beginning, it's hard! A year on, and I'm still finding it hard in getting my name out there and finding new clients. I have joined numerous FB small business groups & VA groups where I network & connect with the other business owners and VAs.

This year I need to work on getting out the door (and my comfort zone
) and attend actual networking events, but its hard with kids needing to be dropped off at school and a husband who works in a demanding job where he needs to travel or be in the office for an early meeting.

It takes time to become good at juggling! I am hopeless at juggling, I don't know how people manage three balls in the air at the same time! Its much like juggling working from home with kids being at home, during the holidays can be tricky! I often get ideas for my business when I should be spending time with my kids. Or my kids want me to take them somewhere or go on the computer when I need to do some work. It's a juggle and something I am still learning to get good at it. It does take time. 

I find having my office at home can sometimes make it hard for my brain to turn off...especially when I am sitting on the lounge and scrolling through my Facebook feed....small businesses owners don't stop working at 5pm! They'll be working throughout the night, messaging or posting comments or asking for advice and recommendations.

Don't let the negative nancies and naysayers stop you from giving it a go! Some people will be jealous, and not be happy for you regardless of how much they say they are. Or they will say negative stuff and try to convince you on how hard it is to work from home or to run your own business or to run a business from home with kids! Usually, it's a person who knows 'someone' who tried it once and failed. Tried what? I don't know, but I bet you it's not what you do, or because they were brave to give it a shot.

Source: Pinterest/Elizabeth Gilbert

In years to come I don't want to think, why didn't I give it a go? Why was I so scared of having a crack at running my own business?

There will be people who don't support you, don't let that stop you from working hard on making your business a success. Even my Mum doesn't quite fully support me, which hurts a little, she worries that I won't have time for the housework or taking care of the cleaning or my husband & kids. OMG, what year is it? I guess she was a 1950's housewife who looked after the house, husband and kids. She's happy for me, but it's always a "but what about the housework & washing, doesn't D (my husband) earn enough so you don't have to work, what about the kids". blah blah blah.

If I returned to a full-time or part-time job in an office somewhere. I'd still have to find the time to get washing done, clean up the house, cook, take the kids to school, feed, entertain, and instruct the kids! 

You can do it even though the fear of failure may be trying to stop you. You can achieve and learn new things if you put your mind to it. Don't let fear stop you, otherwise you'll be forever wondering 'what if'. For someone who hasn't attended formal education in over 20 years (yep a long time) a couple weeks ago I signed up for a free TAFE NSW Business Skills course. I'm a little worried that I won't be able to devote the time or energy to writing assessments and studying, but I am going to give it a shot and hope that I can complete the course (its a Statement of Attainment) in the hope that it will provide me with up-to-date knowledge, and broaden my skills so I can provide my clients with more options.

Not You are good enough! There was a moment when I doubted myself and thought "I don't know enough", "I haven't studied enough", "I don't have enough skills". I had to get out of that mindset and tell myself that I did know enough, that I was capable enough, and that I could upskill myself and better myself. 

You just have to keep plugging away and think of the end goal. Remember back to "your why".

Why did you want this? 
Why are you doing this? 
Why do I want nice things?
Why do I want to be my own boss? 
Why do I want a flexible work/life balance?

Not everyone will understand what you do. That's okay. They don't quite understand what I do when I tell them I'm a virtual assistant. People automatically think that it involves Administration or Bookkeeping, when in fact I don't actually offer Bookkeeping, and Administration is only a small part of the type of services I offer. Think of me as an Online Business Support Manager, I work with clients who are time-poor, or who don't have the knowledge or skills to do a certain task. 

In the end, as long as you are happy, and your husband/partner/family are supportive and understand that it takes a while for a business to get off the ground and that you are working your butt off to get it going. And you have a good group of people cheering you on, oh and client's are praising you for the work you have done (and paid their invoice) that's all that counts!

If I can also inspire my girls that's a good thing.

I love that my two girls get excited when they see me working on my business. I want them to know that they can achieve whatever they set their minds too, and have the best of both worlds - if they want to be a Mum, and be their own boss, go for it!

I love it when I see them get excited about different jobs that I work on, which inspires them to draw pictures for me or come up with ideas for my business, or Popette asks me "What are you doing now Mum? Is it for your business". Seeing her eyes light up and being curious about what I am doing makes it all worth it.

{If you would like to see more of my motivation quotes, you will find them published each Monday on  https://www.instagram.com/jambussupportservices/}